Greens cut down by host’s friendly fire

Action from Saturday's friendly at the Northern Echo Arena
Action from Saturday's friendly at the Northern Echo Arena

Hawick travelled with a full two-team squad for Saturday’s warm-up match against a powerful host side which included 17 full-time professionals.

Played at Mowden Park’s impressive 12,000-seater stadium in Darlington, the game started with both coaches agreeing to a no goal-kicks approach to give maximum opportunity to see the players run the ball and this produced a fast, open encounter which saw the Greens compete well from the kick-off.

Mowden Park produced the only try of the first quarter with a good break on the right from a midfield scrum which put their winger over in the corner.

The Greens came close several times in the first half but the final ball seemed to go astray, and coach Nikki Walker rang the changes frequently to give many of Hawick younger players an opportunity.

The Mowden Park back line displayed impressive running to score two more tries in the first half, including a fortunate opportunist touchdown from their stand-off who collected a very long overthrow from a lineout and found himself with a clear run to the line.

Hawick stand-off Matty Douglas produced some long and accurate kicks to touch which relieved pressure on several occasions.

Hawick took the initiative in the third quarter with some impressive combination play, giving the forwards a chance to show their driving ability, finished off by Shawn Muir with a powerful charge over the line.

Unfortunately, the home side came straight back from the kick-off with good hands out to their right winger for a try in the corner to make the score 20-5.

With all the kickable penalties being run and with frequent substitutions, Hawick continued to compete well and produced some good moves into the danger zone, although they were unable to get over the line on several occasions.

The home team finished their tally with a fifth try via a good drive through the centre after a take against the head at a Hawick scrum.

This very fast and competitive friendly played out with no more scoring but with both the seasoned Hawick players and the newcomers to the team showing grit and tenacity in defence.

Afterwards, coach Walker declared himself satisfied: “Overall, we played well, a bit rusty at first perhaps, but I was pleased with the ball retention and I thought the kicking was outstanding for a pre-season game.

“We played 28 boys in total and many of the youngsters showed up very well against a mainly professional outfit.

“Our new signings fitted in well and showed they will certainly add to the squad this season.”